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Ring in the New Year with Mary, the Mother of God
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Ringing in the new year is part of our national pastime. But why do we do it? Is it simply about having fun? Or is there a deeper meaning found in this practice, one which echoes from the depths of the human heart?
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Photo credit: Annie Spratt
While the secular world bids adieu to the old year and rings in the new with parties and pledges of well-meaning new year's resolutions, the Church calls the attention of Christians to the mother of Jesus with the January 1st Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
Please don't misunderstand. Celebrating the new year with friends, conversation, and fun is fineďż˝"nothing wrong with that. Even more, positive new year's resolutions to live one's life better are ... well ... even better. I have fond memories as a young man, happily married to my wonderful wife, of staying up late, spending time with friends, and setting off fireworks at midnight as we jovially looked forward to the year to come.Â
It seems to me, however, given the past few years and the diminishing state of our nation, that celebrating the new year has taken on a new tone and urgency. Americans and others around the world have grown quite tiredďż˝"to say the leastďż˝"of the agendas foisted on us by globalists and secular elites.
We've endured the destruction of businesses, the shutdown of the economy, psychological damage, forced "vaccinations," the insanity of masking children and stunting their learning development, leftist cancel culture, techno-tyranny, and misinformation guardiansďż˝"all with the purported (tyrannical) aim of "protecting us."
We're disgusted and justly angered by the mire of lies in the political realm and from government controlled news media. We're fed up with the indoctrination of our children in public schools, colleges, and universities. We're enraged by the cry, "My body, my choice," which is about one person choosing to kill and discard an innocent child. We've had it with "trans library days" and "diversity, equity, and inclusion training." Not to mention the war currently waged on marriage and family with a whole host of other evils.
The fact is, the enemies of mankind have shown their hand and awakened the people to their evil designs. Just as Satan always overplays his hand, so too have those who desire to reduce the population and enslave those who survive in 15-minute-cities and with carbon credit scores.
Given all of that, we know that good will prevail over evil. Justice will reign. We can and will make positive changes. The average hard-working American who wants to raise a family and build a future for his children will win out in the end. Perhaps ringing in this new year is very much about that kind of hope for the future.
The Fulfillment of our DesiresAnd yet there's something more going on. While it's true that in each of us resides the hope that we can make a better future for ourselves, our families, and others, if we look more closely, we find there's a deeper meaning at the foundation of the desire to ring in the new year. It's not so much about the immediate future as the long term future.
Every human person, without exception, wants to be happy. But what is the source of this desire? It's rooted in our desire for God, for he has made us for himself, and it is God alone who can provide the perfect happiness and fulfillment for which all of us yearn.
If people think the new year is all about a new beginning in the world, it is but a dim shadow of the reality set before us, made possible by Mary's fiat, her "yes" to the Angel Gabriel's invitation to accept God's plan for her to bear forth the Savior of the world.
The point is, there's nothing as exciting as the "new year" in God's planďż˝"the new beginning set before us in Christ, as St. Paul tells us:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God. (Gal 4:4-7)
And again as St. John teaches:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
Christ defeats our Greatest Enemies
God sent his Son Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, to ransom mankind from sin, evil, and the eternal death of the soul. By virtue of faith in Christ, his sacrifice on the cross, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are freed from our greatest enemies. Consequently, we are children of God the Father and heirs to his everlasting kingdom of joy, peace, and fulfillment.
This constitutes a free and unmerited gift of love from God, a truly new beginning for each and every one of usďż˝"one which was made possible by the Virgin Mary and her "yes" to cooperate with the Father's plan and bear forth Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior and Redeemer. We should guard this new beginning tightly in our heart, look forward to it in hope, and live our life with it in mind.
A Spiritually Fruitful New Year
Do you want to make this new year as spiritually fruitful as possible? Is the true "new year" and new beginning the focus of your hope? If the answer is "yes," it must begin by pondering the mysteries of Christ in your heart, as did Mary (Luke 2:19, 51). It consists in listening to Christ and opening the door of your mind and heart to him: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:20).
It is found in entrusting yourself to Christ and living your life in him, that you may have life everlasting, for our Lord said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).
It means seeking the truth, falling in love with it, and living it out, for Christ said, "For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice" (John 18:37), and "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31-32).
In a word, it's about love for Christ and keeping his commandments: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (John 14:23).
That, my friends, is truly the new beginning. It is the everlasting new year!